UPDATE: Souray is still out…

UPDATE: Don’t expect Sheldon Souray to return anytime soon. Pat Quinn was not very confident that Souray would be back soon. Souray met with the training staff, and according to Quinn, he didn’t look good and is still a ways away from returning.

Steve Staios won’t dress tomorrow either. He is closer than Staios, but after speaking with Quinn it sounds like he won’t play tomorrow, and will be re-evaluated over the weekend.

No changes on the blueline, but Quinn might make a switch up front.

I asked him if he was considering switching the lines to start the game, similar to the ones we saw at the end of last night’s game.

He hinted that maybe Robert Nilsson gets a look, or even Steve MacIntyre. If one of them comes in the question is who comes out? It won’t be Stortini or Moreau, so would he take out a Comrie, Gagner, Stone or Jacques? Doubtful.

Many of the Nation have been wondering why Cogliano is stuck on the 4th line. Quinn pointed out that Gagner got off to a good start playing with Moreau and Stortini, and now Cogliano gets put with them and suddenly he has two goals.

Quinn went on to explain that Moreau and Stortini force their linemates to go into the tough areas, and because Gagner and Cogliano have skill, they finish when they are in those tough areas.

While Stortini and Moreau aren’t blessed with natural skill like Comrie, Gagner, Cogliano, O’Sulllivan or Hemsky they go to the tough areas more often and when teamed up with some skilled guys they get results. Don’t expect Quinn to split that trio up right away.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move offensive guys in between them, with the hope that will force them to go into the tougher areas more often.

Before yesterday’s tilt Tom Renney stated, “It will be a good test to see where we are, or how far we have to go”.

Well, after last night it’s obvious they have a ways to go before they can compete with upper-echelon teams in the west. The Hawks are an elite team, and they dominated the Oilers without Marian Hossa last night.

Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios will close the gap a bit. But either the Oilers were a bit sluggish last night, or the Hawks are just a step faster.

The Hawks won the races to loose pucks, they made better passes, and they pressured the Oilers all over the ice. If Nikolai Khabibulin doesn’t stand on his head, this would have been a blow out.

The good news for the Oilers was at least they continued to hit. JF Jacques, Ryan Stone and a few others were still physical. Jacques did chase Dustin Byfuglien around the ice a shift after he hit Ales Hemsky, but in a case like that, he’d be better served getting a clean lick on Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp or Jonathon Toews, and then Byfuglien would have to respond.

Pierre McGuire was ripping the Oilers defensive zone coverage last night, but if he had watched previous games, it’s clear that the coaching staff wants them to funnel down closer to the net. Yes, they got to low at times, but they don’t want to give up the high slot. They will play the percentages that it is harder to score farther away.

No one should be surprised the Hawks were the better team, because right now they ARE the better team, and they’ve been playing their system for a full season, and they are damn good at it.

The Oilers will need to improve their passing.

It wasn’t just last night, but in many games this year, they’ve missed the simple six to eight foot passes, and those types of turnovers killed them last night. How many times were the Oilers rushing out of their zone and missed a head-man, or cross-ice pass that went to the Hawks D-man? It was too many.

Good passing starts in practice, and I’ll be curious to watch the next few practices to see how the coaches react to bad passes. Last year Nick Lidstrom explained why the Wings were so good at passing, “As players we don’t accept bad passes in practice. We demand it from each other, and you see the results in games. At this level, bad passes are unacceptable.”

Not everything falls on the coaches; sometimes the players need to police themselves. Errant passes are one of the biggest momentum killers in the game, and the Oilers need to stop giving the puck away through missed passes.

Other observations

The Andrew Cogliano, Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau line was the most effective all night. For those who think Moreau can’t skate, wake up. Skating is not an issue with the captain; never has been.

I said it last year, and I’ll continue to say it, Cogliano has better finish than he’s given credit for. I think it is only a matter of time before he forces the coach’s hand to give him top-six minutes. His speed allows him to create chances, and at some point I’d like to see him on the PP.

Pat Quinn switched the lines trying to find a spark, and it almost worked. I’m still stunned at how this team can score one goal, and then all of a sudden they have confidence. Ales Hemsky had a glorious chance ten seconds after the Dustin Penner goal, and the Oilers were much better in the final eight minutes of the game, but they still deserved to lose.

Speaking of Penner, the big man is showing no signs of slowing down. He is consistently using his size advantage to fend off defenders, and it might be time to put him with Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky.

I like Jacques’ game to this point, but it is clear Penner will create more offence, and so far Hemsky and Horcoff haven’t done much.

The Oilers have an optional practice at noon today, so we won’t see any lines at practice today, but I’ll update you on the status of Staios and Souray later.

  • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

    Here we go eating our young once more. Hemmer is on pace right now for 69 points. I can only imagine things improving as the team continues to gel.Leave Penner where he is, it's working so why screw it up. Jacques is coming along and Horcoff works too hard to continue his slump much longer. This team and coaching staff has 6 games under their belts,PATIENCE PEOPLE

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Time to trade Hemsky. He has a high value, and the team and fans have invested heavily into him. I know in our house I'm the only Hemsky fan. Perhaps it takes an unbiased observation to point out that he is selfish with the puck, pouts, hasn't bought into the system, this will be year 345 we'll be waiting for him to be a star. We have at 4 potential stars that will be eligible next year to join our existing young talent, is hemskys minutes, defensive issues, etc worth it. Perhaps it's not Horcoff that's the problem, or if Horcoff isn't a number 1 center, can we get any better if Hemsky is our #1 player. Great players make others look good, that's not Hemsky. Package him up now, get the power forward we want, and let's move up a level.

  • Jason Gregor

    It was clear that the Oiler need some work to compete with the NHL elite this year. Barring a miracle, Horcoff, Hemsky need to sharpen those proverbial pencils. If it wasn't for Khabi the Oilers would have seen a 7 or 8 to 1 score.

  • Lofty

    How would the oilers pay Kovy, pay horc 5.5, sign the RFA's, and stay under the cap? Unless Tambo can magicly dump horcoff, Nilson, Pisani, Moreau, and trade one of the expensive d-men, not much is going to change.

  • Lofty

    I like what Penner has been doing playing on the second or third line. I know he came to camp in shape and is motiviated but is his resurgence partially to do with not playing with Horcoff and Hemsky. To me those guys haven't really "clicked" at all so far while Penner has seemed to make the most out of whomever he plays with.

    • Skidrow Gutterbum

      As much as I'd like to land a sniper, I think what's needed more at this point is a tough,nasty,mean SOB stay at home d-man in his prime to clear the front of the net on the PK.

      Goalscoring by commitee may continue, maybe not, but the goals against have to come down and I cant fault the goaltending so far this season for that problem.

    • BarryS

      When will you all realize the downside of the cap world is once you sign up players your lineup is fixed until:

      1. Contracts run out.

      2. Someone on your team retires.

      3. Your own looses his mind and allows the sending of a multi-million dollar player to the minors.

      4. Some fool like birkie trades 2 first round draft picks for one of your injured players.

      5. The reason some teams have cap room is the owner can not spend money because he(they) are broke or going there.

      6. Players with cap room don't have very good players that's why they have room.

      7. Players used to be meat, now their notations on a ledger and skill no longer matters only their number in the ledger.

      8. Teams willing to make trades want less cap hit back then more. (i.e. Forget trying to trade anyone making more than 3 Mill. cap hit)

      9. Mike Milberry is no longer a g.m. and Garth Snow spent all his money on three starting goaltenders.

      10. Any player worth trading for probably has either a no trade or a wife who won;t let him move there.

      • BarryS

        Corrected Edition

        When will you all realize the downside of the cap world is once you sign up 45 – 50 players your lineup is fixed until:

        1. Contracts run out.

        2. Someone on your team retires with a career ending injury. (To be hoped not.)

        3. Your owner looses his mind and allows the sending of a multi-million dollar player to the minors.

        4. Some fool like Birkie trades 2 first round draft picks for one of your injured players.

        5. The reason some teams have cap room is their owner can not spend money because he(they) are broke or going there.

        6. Teams with cap room don't have very good players that's why they have room.

        7. Players used to be meat, now they're notations in a ledger and skill no longer matters only their number in the ledger.

        8. Teams willing to make trades want less cap hit back rather than more. (i.e. Forget trying to trade anyone making more than 2 Mill. cap hit)

        9. Mike Milberry is no longer a g.m. and Garth Snow spent all his money on three starting goaltenders.

        10. Any player worth trading for probably has either a no trade clause or a wife who won't let him move there.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Is your mispelling intentional ?

          1) Contracts run out ?
          Best smell test, if you were to sign this player to this contract, would other gm's trade for him at this price

          2) Actually, a career ending injury is not always the case….. ask Fernando, where an overpayment will come back to haunt you later.

          3) If the team was spending $70mm before the cap, and now can only spend $55mm, what is the challenge of sending a player to the minors, players are cheaper today, and are on sale with an escrow reduction at the end of the year.

          4) Based on the oilers draft history, Fraser working from Mexico and drafts afterwards….
          can anyone say Parise or Doan…. a bird in the hand…. is better than 2 in the bush.
          Avoiding a lottery pick is key.

          5) Very few nhl teams are making money, you can buy season tickets in PHX for $9 per game.

          6) The owner selects a budget, regardless of cap.

          7) Players will always be meat from hockey operations, how many gm's are former players with high school education managing millions of dollars.

          8) How about taking on salary for draft picks.

          9) Islanders are playing the three point game with overtime charity points. Biron signed for 1.4 mm where the Oil have Khabi for 4 years into his forties….. at a higher price point.

          10) Who gave them these no trade ?
          What wives have balked at coming to the next nhl city besides Laura Pronger and possibly Nylander, who had cold feet….

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Hey Jason today on your radio show you gave a web site address for a hockey pool. I did not catch it could you throw it up here. Or anyone else who herd him earlier. Thanks in advance

  • from http://blogs2.startribune.com/blogs/wildblog/2009/10/15/no-czechs/

    Just landed in Edmonton. Got an email from PR guru Ryan Stanzel.

    All three Wild Czech players missed practice today. Havlat and Sykora with groins, Zidlicky with what was called a maintenance day.

    Wild hasn’t called up any forwards, so if they don’t and Havlat and Sykora can’t play, Derek Boogaard will have to return. If Zidlicky can’t play, we may see Jaime Sifers’ debut.

    Another team stroll's thru eTown without their superstar. ~Big surprise~

  • roadrunner

    The one thing I noticed about the game and Coach Quinn made reference to it in the post game on CHED is the individual play. Too many individuals on this team right now.
    Gregor points out the Hawks being a better club last night in a number of areas, but it all comes back to a team concept.

    Numerous times the Blackhawks came up ice as a unit with a steady 5 man rush. If they lost the puck, they collectively worked to regain possesion. We don't see that effort from the Oil as of yet.

    The 'Hawks won due to better team play, not due to skill, speed or scheme. They play a team game. From the blueline to the forwards, when they advance up ice they stay in lanes and work towards getting passes not standing still.

    Puck support is what the Oil lack right now. I'm not sure if thats due to the coaching change, philosophy or old habits but it'll come in time. Hopefully sooner than later.

    And Gregor instead of pointing out glaring flaws of JFJacques chasing guys around the ice, recognize the fact these kids are willing to do things others on the team haven't been doing for years. They're supporting their team mates for once. Its called making a name for yourself. You spent time in the trenches at one point making a name so give your surmon a rest man.

    You mock the Couch Coaching but you're no better. Nothing worse than a hypocryte.

    • Jason Gregor

      What the Hell are you talking about man? Listen better. I never ripped Jacques once for hitting guys? Some caller tried saying that is what caused the Hawks to have the puck all game.

      I said it was hogwash. Jacques didn't put himself out of position going for a big hit. When he made one, it didn't result in a scoring chance for the Hawks.

      You can disagree all you like with any statement or opinion I make. I encourage that, but at least be accurate when you try ripping on someone. Listen better.

  • Jason Gregor

    gonna have to disagree with you about slotting Dustin Penner alongside ales hemsky and horcoff.

    If those two players cant create offence by themselves then i would have to say its obvious that Ales Hemsky isnt the player oilers fans thinks he is. It might be time to move on, trade him while he still has some value.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      Is IS bad. Don't you know it's Theo Fleury History Month? Respect! Honestly, good on the little guy for finally breaking his silence, but he's on my TV more than the Slap Chop guy.

      As for the other names, Kathy Bates' Face, Team BOHICA (nice Jim Rome reference), and Lubricated Goats are all notable choices.

  • So Edmonton has a new radio station eh (CJNW-FM 107.1)

    Edmonton's NEW Hit Music Channel…

    HOT 107 FM

    Started October 6th with 10,000 songs in a row without commercials. Interesting.

  • IF Souray is out 10 games , do the Oilers get to reduce that amount of his salary for 12% of the season, even if he was not on LTIR for that time? Can they put him on retroactively?

  • C'mon Dennis. There's injuries where you get checked and blow out your shoulder. Then there's the kind where you step on a stick going hard into the boards with a 210 pound player on your back smashing your head just that much harder. While there was a justified worry Souray was made of glass, this wasn't one of those times. Gumby boy Zorg wouldn't have done any better this time around.

  • Librarian Mike

    Gregor:

    According to NHL.com's preseason stats, Matthew Martin scored 2 goals in 4 games while registering 0 shots, which is possibly the most epic shooting percentage of all time (infinity?)

    Any idea what he circumstances were behind that? Im guessing its an input error or Martin was benefactor of 2 unfortunate own goals.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Gregor

    I missed the first part of where you guys were talking about Souray/Nilsson for Stoll/Greene or Stoll/Doughty. Was that just a callers opinion?

    And if something like that did every happen who are you moving from the top 12 to fit Stoll in?

    Also of note, I was checking in on Stoll yesterday or the day before just wondering what his stats were. Well he was only 44% or so on the dot and I was kinda shocked, looked today and he was 10-1 yesterday.